DA Vance and DOI Commissioner Peters Announce Charges in Conspiracy Case Involving Smuggling of Dangerous Contraband into Manhattan Detention Complex


June 18, 2015

Investigation and Subsequent DOC Sweeps Led to Charges Against Three Additional Inmates for Possessing Contraband

Watch the Press Conference

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. and New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”) Commissioner Mark G. Peters today announced the indictment of four individuals – a New York City Department of Correction (DOC) Officer, an inmate, and family members of the inmate – for their involvement in a conspiracy that resulted in the smuggling of dangerous contraband into the Manhattan Detention Complex (MDC). PATRICIA HOWARD, 44, KHALILAH MATTOCKS, 35, TOMMY DAVIS, 56, and VELVER JEAN DAVIS, 58, are charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, and Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree; DAVIS and MATTOCKS are additionally charged with Bribery in the Third Degree and HOWARD is charged with Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree, among other drug-related charges.[1]

The months-long investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Public Corruption Unit and DOI utilized court-authorized wiretaps and additional evidence to uncover the smuggling operation. According to the indictment and court documents, from December 2014 to May 2015, the defendants together conspired to smuggle dangerous contraband into the MDC, including cocaine, marijuana, cellphones, lighters, pliers, tobacco, and what the defendants believed to be oxycodone, among other illegal items.

“We have all witnessed in recent weeks the serious consequences that can result when contraband is smuggled inside prison walls,” said District Attorney Vance. “At a time when stakeholders across the criminal justice system are coming together to ensure that inmates are kept safe – and our prisons are kept secure – this investigation with our partners at the Department of Investigation has exposed an alleged conspiracy involving narcotics, communications devices, tools, and other dangerous items smuggled into the Manhattan Detention Complex by a correction officer. Today’s indictment, as well as the recent arrests of additional inmates found to be in possession of contraband, sends a message that corruption and illegal activity within New York City’s correctional facilities will not be tolerated.”

DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters said: “This criminal indictment, coming just two weeks after similar security lapses that allowed two prisoners to escape from the State’s facility, further demonstrates the very real dangers created when corrupt correction officers join league with the inmates they are guarding. The correction officers who choose to engage in this illegal conduct are a driving force in sophisticated, underground contraband rings, and they compromise the safety of their colleagues and the jail system. DOI worked with the Manhattan District Attorney to stop this charged criminal network, and we have recommended critical changes at the Manhattan Detention Complex and throughout DOC.”

During the period of this conspiracy, HOWARD – a DOC Officer with nearly 20 years of experience – was assigned to work in the mailroom of the Manhattan Detention Complex, where TOMMY DAVIS was housed as an inmate. According to the indictment, TOMMY DAVIS would allegedly procure for distribution to fellow inmates prison contraband including narcotics, marijuana, cellphones, and other illegal items, such as tobacco. TOMMY DAVIS is then accused of directing his sister, VELVER JEAN DAVIS, and his niece, MATTOCKS, to allegedly obtain these items through their own contacts and suppliers, as well as from family, friends, and associates of the inmates.

After obtaining various contraband items, MATTOCKS is accused of delivering the contraband to HOWARD. In her official capacity as a DOC officer, HOWARD would then allegedly smuggle the items into the MDC and deliver them to TOMMY DAVIS and others inside the jail. In exchange for smuggling the items into the facility, HOWARD was paid hundreds of dollars in cash for her services.

On April 29, 2015, an undercover investigator, posing as an associate of an MDC inmate, contacted MATTOCKS, requesting that a package containing a cellphone, oxycodone, and tobacco, be delivered to an inmate. Following the undercover investigator’s transaction with MATTOCKS, the phone’s Find-My-iPhone feature was activated, enabling investigators to observe the phone moving from MATTOCKS’ apartment, to HOWARD’s apartment, and then to the MDC, where HOWARD is charged with smuggling it inside.

During another transaction on May 9, 2015, MATTOCKS is accused of passing a large red shopping bag to HOWARD containing crack-cocaine and marijuana, as well as three cell phones, various cell phone accessories, lighters, tobacco, rolling papers, pliers, earbuds, and a flashlight. These items were allegedly intended to be smuggled into the MDC by HOWARD. When she was apprehended, HOWARD was in possession of $800 in cash, which had been allegedly provided by MATTOCKS as a fee for smuggling these items into the MDC.

As a result of this investigation, DOC conducted several sweeps of MDC cells, leading to the arrest and arraignment of three other inmates in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree. In one case, ERNEST MURPHY, 25, was arraigned two days ago after 64 bed sheets – tied together to form a rope – were found to be stored in a cabinet under the sink in his MDC cell. In April, DOC officials found a cellphone stored inside a ceiling light fixture in an MDC cell occupied by separately charged defendant YERMI MOREL, 37. VICTOR MENA, 23, was additionally charged with being in possession of significant quantities of contraband, including a cell phone charger, a roll of black tape, two latex gloves containing marijuana believed to be over 25 grams, and a scale.

Assistant District Attorneys Renée Jarusinsky and Nicholas Leddy are handling the prosecution of the indicted case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Luke Rettler, Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division. Assistant District Attorney Fionnuala O’Doherty is handling the prosecution of MENA and MOREL, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Eugene Porcaro, Chief of Trial Bureau 30, and Assistant District Attorney Ahmed Almudallal is handling the prosecution of MURPHY, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Warren Murray, Chief of Trial Bureau 50.

District Attorney Vance also thanked DOI, DOC, and members of the NYPD’s 28th Precinct for their assistance in the case.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

Defendant Information:

TOMMY DAVIS, D.O.B. 6/17/1959
New York, NY

Charges:

  • Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A-II felony, four counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, one count
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class C felony, eight counts
  • Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a class D felony, seven counts
  • Bribery in the Third Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Attempted Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a class E felony, eleven counts
  • Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count
  • Promoting Prison Contraband in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, two counts
  • Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count
  • Attempted Promoting Prison Contraband in the Second Degree, a class B misdemeanor, eight counts

VELVER JEAN DAVIS, D.O.B. 1/7/1957
New York, NY

Charges:

  • Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A-II felony, one count
  • Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class C felony, two counts
  • Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count

PATRICIA HOWARD, D.O.B. 5/25/1971
Bronx, NY

Charges:

  • Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A-II felony, four counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, one count
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class C felony, eight counts
  • Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a class D felony, five counts
  • Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Attempted Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a class E felony, eleven counts
  • Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count
  • Promoting Prison Contraband in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, two counts
  • Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count
  • Attempted Promoting Prison Contraband in the Second Degree, a class B misdemeanor, eight counts

KHALILAH MATTOCKS, D.O.B. 7/21/1979
New York, NY

Charges:

  • Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A-II felony, four counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class B felony, one count
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class C felony, eight counts
  • Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a class D felony, five counts
  • Bribery in the Third Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Attempted Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a class E felony, eleven counts
  • Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count
  • Promoting Prison Contraband in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, two counts
  • Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Fourth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count
  • Attempted Promoting Prison Contraband in the Second Degree, a class B misdemeanor, eight counts

VICTOR MENA, D.O.B. 4/29/1992
New York, NY

Charges:

  • Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Fifth Degree, a class B misdemeanor, one count

YERMI MOREL, D.O.B. 4/4/1978
New York, NY

Charges:

  • Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a class D felony, one count

ERNEST MURPHY, D.O.B. 10/5/1989
New York, NY

Charges:

  • Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree, a class D felony, one count